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Towards Zero

Toward the Bridge of San Luis Rey

One can feel an ill-wind blowing these three Anglo-centric democracies toward some terrible climax. Like those unfortunate folk in the story of the “Bridge of San Luis Rey” by Thornton Wilder, where individual circumstances bring these five people to meet their fate upon the collapsing bridge in Peru.

“This story centres on a [fictional] event that happened in Peru on the road between Lima and Cusco, at noon on Friday, July 20, 1714. A bridge woven by the Incas a century earlier collapsed at that particular moment, while five people were crossing it.”

It is an exploration of the interconnectedness of apparent strangers. A kind of “six degrees of separation”. It could be used as a metaphor for the connected cultural links of our three Anglo-centric democracies – Britain, the USA, Australia – where it is becoming quite weirdly apparent that even though we are unconnected specifically, there are similarities of behaviour, politics, bigotry and racism being acted out socially and politically at the same time, and with the same intensity by the same political players.

One can feel us being brought to the edge of a kind of precipice, squabbling and wrestling dangerously close to social disaster with whispers of civil war and military solutions in the air, or at least some threats of vicious reprisals.

One has to wonder on the reason these three Anglo democracies are experiencing similar tribulations at the same time. Could it be because all are in the grip of conservative/right-wing governments, while much of the more stable democracies have centralist governments?

If we look to Europe, while there is still a healthy degree of dissent, the governments, being centralist/centre-left do have stability, even dear old Italy, notorious for a habit of changing governments, has, for all its reputation, stable governance. The major superpowers of Asia have stable government … we may not approve of their choice, but they are stable. Many Asian nations have domineering/authoritarian but for the most, stable administrations. Sure, there are a percentage of crazies in the mix, and we won’t even think about the Middle East! … but not really more than usual. So why are our three Anglo-centric democracies going off the rails?

In all three we have seen a pattern of domineering mainstream media (MSM) control, with the ruling conservative parties feted by at least one major media player. That same media player has become notorious for outright bias toward the right-wing, either through scurrilous scandal mongering, outright lying or bullying the public broadcasters through political interference. That is the one distinctive pattern at play. There are other connections, such as the lobbying of vested interest groups to swing government policy to speculative profiteering by certain donor companies. And there is the corporate affiliations to many members of the conservative parties in the House, where corporate profit is directly beneficial to actual politicians framing policy for the pertinent corporations.

There is, of course that age old influence of white supremacy, played out with the racial/religious profiling of political decisions. This can be through preferred refugee selection and treatment, Indigenous patronising or exploitation through faux concern for welfare direction … and, of course, the divide and rule policy toward religious/atheist ideologue.

If we look to the Anglo/Euro influence, we can hear the faint echoes of an Enoch Powel speech, or the thundering rhetoric of Mussolini or Hitler, sure, tempered with a soft guilt, yet still displayed with a “I told youse so” vitriol. Especially in Australia or the USA. Both a long way from the up-close and in your face visuals of the 2nd WW. Where the public horror was less emphatic through photography and memory. At such a distance from the battlefront, the sense of smell is neither affronted nor lingering and connected to the memory to be brought suddenly and shockingly to the front by a flash-back moment.

But what can we expect, when conservative leadership along with a compliant MSM has been more concerned with using the tools of hatred, divide and rule and even the most blunt weapon of straight treason to create dissent, disorder and resentment within certain demographics of the community? It is not as if they have no example; we can see their instructors on any given media platform reproducing moments from the fascist states of the second world war. Sometimes almost word for word, if not deed for deed imitation. The shame, dishonour and disgrace of such actions seems to fall from their psyche like Autumn leaves to the ground, leaving these mummers of a theatre of horrors untouched nor unfazed by guilty conscience or accusation of social pariah.

Trump, May and the Turnbull/Abbott cabal in power in the three Anglo-centric democracies of the west, have a lot to answer for. The first is their use and encouragement of the Murdoch media in all three nations to heap slander upon lie and outrage to fan the flames of discontent and hatred less toward an outside threat, than toward the citizens and guests resident within their own borders. The ultimate objective being to encourage a new kind of militant citizen group that could commit violent acts toward those most vulnerable or most susceptible to profitable propaganda.

Yes, there is a feeling of being drawn toward a moment of destiny, an approaching storm of vile confrontation with our troubling inner hatreds and seething resentments. We will have to address these resentments within the next one or two terms of governance. If Labor gain office the next election, they will have little choice but to put in place a rolling tribunal to look very closely at the interconnections between big corporations, big media, white-supremacist groups and conservative politics.

There will have to be an investigation into these things, because it is easy to see we are slowly and inexorably being tugged, as with a rope around our necks, tugged and pulled toward a very dangerous place … pulled unwillingly if not unwittingly toward zero.


25 comments

  1. pierre wilkinson

    We can but hope that Murdoch, as with these right wing conservative governments, have an expiry date that is already well passed its’ due by date and that eventually they will all wither and die upon the face of public awareness through alternate social media and the blatant fact that they continue to tell obvious lies.

  2. David Bruce

    Further to your comment, I notice that wherever the Special Forces of those countries land, there appears to an outbreak of ISIS. Philippines is just one recent example
    My concern now is with Indonesia where the TNI (Indonesian Army) found 5000 weapons last month. These 12.7mm calibre weapons, made in China, were intended for the Indonesian police forces. The evidence is sparse so speculation is rife, and US Special Forces were operating in Java near Bandung last month. I also read a detailed report about the Anglo-Saxon Mission which will result in China “catching a cold”. Perhaps Tony Abbot knows something when he said Daesh is after you?

  3. diannaart

    Anglo-Saxon + Christian; controlling the masses requires full use of powerful doctrines.

  4. Zathras

    Here’s some little-know trivia about the supply of weaponry –

    When the Viet Cong were trying to evict the French from their country they were quietly supplied with surplus pre-Japan-invasion WW2 rifles left over from Okinawa by the USA (for the sum of $1).

    The secret deal made with General Giap and Ho Chi Minh was that the USA could bid for exclusive access to oil and gas drilling rights in fields they believed lay off the coast.

    Unfortunately the Viets reneged on the deal, a war followed and American/French relations have been poor ever since.

    ISIS armed themselves with weapons supplied to them to rid Libya of Gaddafi and later to fight as rebels in Syria before they broke away.
    Likewise Al-Queda were armed and trained by the USA to evict the Russians from Afghanistan.

    There are special interests at work all around us, usually only for the benefit of a specific few and the role of the media is to follow the script. I suspect some politicians are also there to play along with the same schemes.

  5. Joseph Carli

    David…I put up a interview with Noam Chomsky (here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjENnyQupow ) where he discusses such things. I have this feeling that all the chooks are coming home to roost for the capitalist west..particularly those with right-wing govts’.

  6. Roswell

    An outstanding piece, Joseph. Your best yet.

  7. Joseph Carli

    Thank you Roswell…compliments are always welcome in this house…(grin)…But I do think the times are getting a bit more serious..I don’t think the right-wing is going to let power slip from their grip without a lot of dirty fighting…We can see that Bannon fellow in America has all the looks of a dirty scrapper in his psyche…and of course..there is the “dirty digger” there in the shadows…always there in the shadows…ready to praise the lords and to pass some ammunition.

  8. helvityni

    America and Australia have not had wars on their own soil, but both of are always quick to join other countries’ troubles, eagerly waiting to send their troops to any battle, we also have special days to celebrate and to REMEMBER war. We spend money to buy war-gear and to protect our borders. Yet we are ‘far of from madding crowds.’

    In Europe where nations have suffered terribly, they are more inclined to FORGET about warring, and settle for peace.

    America and Australia are also very materialistic countries, and lately the rich have gotten richer, and poor , poorer… So now the rich and powerful are hell-bent in protecting their loot; nobody is happy, and we get the Trumps and Abbotts/Turnbulls as leaders…

    England has had more European influences, and it’s not in there all the way with Trump, even so Teresa May was the first leader to visit him and they walked hand in hand, so such silly behaviour from Merkel…

    What about NZ, it’s also an Anglo country?

  9. Joseph Carli

    ” What about NZ, it’s also an Anglo country?”…Oh, hang on, helvityni…that’s not fair…

  10. jimhaz

    [If Labor gain office the next election, they will have little choice but to put in place a rolling tribunal to look very closely at the interconnections between big corporations, big media, white-supremacist groups and conservative politics]

    Not if Bill Shorten, wantabe upperclaser, is in charge of the ALP. We lost too many “good guys” due to Rudd and we are left with closet neocons or entitlement class folk like Bowen,Plibersek, Burke, Fitzgibbon.

    None of these people will ever achieve anything for a good society – they are wimps

  11. Joseph Carli

    But , jimhaz…that’s where we come in…Social media has shown it can do so much more than just bluff..it can concentrate the anger along with the demand to target those politicians to enact public policy…or suffer the consequences..which could be a close examination of their everyday activities, past histories etc.
    WE, are the radicals just by being here.

  12. stephengb2014

    As far as I can tell NZ is not willing to just go with the USA just because they are the USA.

    In fact just the opposite.

    I have to admit that I sometimes wished that I had chosen to emigrate to NZ or Canada.

    S G B

  13. stephengb2014

    Oops, “In fact just the opposite”, I was trying to say:-

    That NZ just don’t follow USA just because the USA say so

  14. stephengb2014

    I have this dread that the USA is goading N Korea, because the USA has an agreement that China will say out of it if N Korea fires the first shot.

    And Kim Jung may just take the bait!

    S G B

  15. Shutterbug

    Joseph.

    I totally agree with Roswell, a truly outstanding piece, one which should be compulsory reading for all Centre/Leftists.

    More, please much more!

  16. Andreas Bimba

    Follow the money, who made the most over the past 40 years of neoliberalism?

    It’s Wall Street, London’s ‘Square Mile’ and the little boys in Sydney’s, Melbourne’s, Toronto’s and Auckland’s CBDs – the financial services sector, the major banks and their corporate allies in the mass media, fossil fuels, resources extraction, big pharma, private health care, security, the defence industrial complex, agrobusiness and a few others.

    The Powell memorandum written in 1971 was a big turning point and it was global because the corporate oligarchy is global and you are right Helvityni, Joseph should have included New Zealand as NZ Labour under David Lange in the mid 1980’s were important pioneers in the neoliberal scam that gradually step by step unwound our democratic processes, institutions, economies, a fair go for all and social democracy.

    The right wing corporate oligarchy, especially that based in the US, may well trigger a major war to deflect the public mood and to attempt to put down the troublesome progressives but they will not succeed. Too much public resentment has been created over the last few decades and big parts of the world of big business are splitting away from the crazy crony capitalist and fossil fuel loving right wing that has defrauded and endangered us all.

  17. Freetasman

    Excellent article Joe, I read it in your blog. I think that the extreme right are start doing a desperado efforts world wide.
    I follow the news in South America and the signs are there clear to see.
    In 10 years or less we have another revolution in some Latin country where people have nothing to lose.

  18. Phil

    I’d become a full fledged born again Christian if I knew for sure that my prayers would be answered for a painful and long drawn out terminal illness to afflict that monster Rupert Murdoch – a truly evil man.

    I like your reasoning Joseph C – you have hit on something that has been staring us in the face for some time.

  19. Andrew Smith

    In my opinion, and coincidental experiences (joining the dots), is that it’s a reemergence of the old WASP oligarchs’ preferred ideology; nowadays astro-turfed, re-branded or masked for consumption by younger generations through presenting as ‘liberal and environmental’, when much of it seems to be about ‘proto Nazism’?

    One can infer a construct that helps understanding and analysis. Imagine you are one of the old WASP fossil fuel, auto and related industrial oligarchs or robber barons (there were/are not that many); how do you maintain both global corporate oligopolies in various compliant nation states, with personal advantage and social preferences preserved?

    Look back back to old classical economist philosophers i.e. Malthus, Ricardo, Smith, Mill et al. (later Hayek and Friedman used to oppose Keynesian economics for the people and govt. spending), neo Darwinism of his cousin Galton, the founder of the ‘science of eugenics and racial hygiene’; to the point that Standard Oil, Ford, GM and IBM continued to do business with or in Nazi Germany after US joined the war (and the Rockies supporting the Kaiser Wilhem Institute which employed Mengele et al.).

    Post WWII things went (embarrassingly) quiet except Ayn Rand, John Birch Society and the KKK, then early 1970s it all re-emerged again (Nixon/GOP complaining they cannot gain and retain power legitimately) as zero population growth ZPG (John Tanton, Paul Ehrlich, Paul Watson, Rockefeller and Ford Foundations), attempted takeover of the Sierra Club (like the ACF; for not highlighting immigration and population growth) at same time zero economic growth ZEG movement used the above classical economists to develop Herman Daly’s ‘steady-state economy’ theory and then rebranded via The Club of Rome (Rockefeller estate, sponsored by VW and Fiat) to produce the ‘limits to growth’, ‘sustainability’ etc. theories to present as ‘liberal and environmental’.

    The strategy seems about splitting the centre using agitprop, junk science etc. and discrediting or bypassing parliamentary democracy; gridlock versus coup.

    Just looking at some of Daly’s ‘steady state economy’ which is being astroturfed to this day (an academic cousin was recently asked to share a modern version on Facebook), and its components and/or principles is the give away; socialism for the top 1% and competitive neo-liberalism for the 99% or lower orders.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steady-state_economy

    In fact if one parses beyond the seemingly logical environmental concerns that Daly and protagonists are proposing, plus the impractical idea of economic growth to balance without societal decline or impact, it’s an autarkist nation based economy run for and on behalf of oligarchs aka Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Peronism etc. It would include primacy of the nation state, strong border control, tariff walls, support legacy industries, oppose services, withdrawal from trade agreements, visa/immigration restrictions, less developed nations’ people are to stay where they are, less or no environmental regulation, no renewable, small govt., low taxes, minimal education etc.

    Sounds like the symptons exemplified by Brexit, Trump (Democrats are divided as to whether the US is an oligarchy or plutocracy), and the LNP, IPA and NewsCorp plan for Oz?

    My concern about the SSM is not the issue, but the precedent and normalisation of by passing MPs, parliament and democracy.

  20. Harquebus

    I have to go with the flow Joseph Carli and admit, this is a pretty good piece.
    Thanks for the Chomsky link. I am a fan of his.

    Here is something that I read this morning. Chomsky is mentioned as one of those being silenced. It is also a good article and worth reading. theAIMN could very well be targeted if, it ever becomes popular enough to be influential.

    “The ruling elites, who grasp that the reigning ideology of global corporate capitalism and imperial expansion no longer has moral or intellectual credibility, have mounted a campaign to shut down the platforms given to their critics. The attacks within this campaign include blacklisting, censorship and slandering dissidents as foreign agents for Russia and purveyors of “fake news.””
    “This ideological collapse in the United States has transformed those of us who attack the corporate state into a potent threat, not because we reach large numbers of people, and certainly not because we spread Russian propaganda, but because the elites no longer have a plausible counterargument.”
    “So instead the elites, including the Democratic Party leadership, have decided to quash public debate. The tactic they are using is as old as the nation-state—smearing critics as traitors who are in the service of a hostile foreign power.”
    “They are not bought and paid for. They have integrity, courage and often brilliance. They are honest. For these reasons, in the eyes of the corporate state, they are very dangerous.”
    “The financial meltdown of 2008 not only devastated the global economy, it exposed the lies propagated by those advocating globalization.”
    “After 2008 it became clear that the “free market” is a scam, a zombie ideology by which workers and communities are ravaged by predatory capitalists and assets are funneled upward into the hands of the global 1 percent.”
    “The establishment politicians in the two leading parties, each in service to corporate power and responsible for the assault on civil liberties and impoverishment of the country, are no longer able to use identity politics and the culture wars to whip up support.”
    “He [Barack Obama] accelerated the war on public education by privatizing schools, expanded the wars in the Middle East, including the use of militarized drone attacks, provided little meaningful environmental reform, ignored the plight of the working class, deported more undocumented people than any other president, imposed a corporate-sponsored health care program that was the brainchild of the right-wing Heritage Foundation, and prohibited the Justice Department from prosecuting the bankers and financial firms that carried out derivatives scams and inflated the housing and real estate market, a condition that led to the 2008 financial meltdown.”
    “In the name of combating Russia-inspired “fake news,” Google, Facebook, Twitter, The New York Times, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed News, Agence France-Presse and CNN in April imposed algorithms or filters, overseen by “evaluators,” that hunt for key words such as “U.S. military,” “inequality” and “socialism,” along with personal names such as Julian Assange and Laura Poitras, the filmmaker, Ben Gomes.”
    “This is a war of ideas. The corporate state cannot compete honestly in this contest. It will do what all despotic regimes do—govern through wholesale surveillance, lies, blacklists, false accusations of treason, heavy-handed censorship and, eventually, violence.”
    https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-silencing-of-dissent/

  21. lawrencewinder

    Notwithstanding the emergence of the far right in Europe it is the relative sanity of that union which will be the brake on the obsessive death-wish of the Americans… throwing into relief Bannon’s boys adolescent penis fondling fantasy’s. Even Britain with it’s maniacal Boris and lumbering May still have Corbyn and his popularity yapping at their heels… let’s hope Willie Shortstuff and his entourage soon find voice.

  22. Pappinbarra Fox

    Harquebus, this is nonsense, Obama didn’t become president until 2008:
    “He [Barack Obama] accelerated the war on public education by privatizing schools, expanded the wars in the Middle East, including the use of militarized drone attacks, provided little meaningful environmental reform, ignored the plight of the working class, deported more undocumented people than any other president, imposed a corporate-sponsored health care program that was the brainchild of the right-wing Heritage Foundation, and prohibited the Justice Department from prosecuting the bankers and financial firms that carried out derivatives scams and inflated the housing and real estate market, a condition that led to the 2008 financial meltdown.”

    So maybe Geo Bush Jnr is to blame?

  23. king1394

    The MSM is also responsible for trivialising much important information. They are complicit in much of the ‘but look over there’ distractions that current neo-con governments use to maintain the soporific state enjoyed by the majority of the population. Whether it is the intensifying of hurricanes or the possibility of a nuclear attack, the people are encouraged to forget about it by the next story of a pregnant Royal, a footballer’s wife’s gown or a cute animal story. Real news and analysis requires intellectual consideration which takes a lot of energy. Much better for most people is to treat it all as entertainment. No wonder President Trump and ex-PM Abbott get so much attention: neither stimulate thought and both provide simple amusement with their antics.

  24. Harquebus

    Pappinbarra Fox
    You have misinterpreted the statement. It was after 2008 when B.O. “prohibited the Justice Department from prosecuting the bankers and financial firms that carried out derivatives scams and inflated the housing and real estate market, a condition that led to the 2008 financial meltdown.”

  25. wam

    Even the poor are rich because there is someone poorer on the box or on the streets everyday. This is becoming further entrenched by the once was a twiggy money spinner but now bought by who knows for ??? millions, where our federal politicians see nothing abhorrent in paying indue $200 per week per welfare recipient.
    Still those who are rich want to continue to not only keeping the poor visible to those who vote but having a knowledge that they will, eventually, have only food hand outs and cannot do what we can do.
    ps it is very significant that my conservative friends think the no case is theirs and only left wingers, like me, are yes. Such bullshit is also visible in them ALL being crows and giving me s..t because I am port, especially since 1991, are now amazed that I am not supporting the ‘ADELAIDE’ team.

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